|CMI Chicago IL|
|Gibson Kalamazoo MI|
I certainly do not mean to deride the reputation of either of these gentlemen. After all Mr. Berlin was CEO of the giant music conglomerate CMI and H. Norton Stevens was a graduate of Harvard.
Mr. Stevens left Gibson due to a hostile take over, he was appointed to the Inter-America Foundation by President G. H. W. Bush.
Rooney Pace had ongoing issues at the time needed to clean their own house. Three years after selling Gibson, Rooney Pace, it's president, Randolph Rooney and five executives were fined, censured and expelled from the N.A.S.D (Nasdaq) for stock manipulation. But I am going too far ahead in the Norlin story.
This was a period of drastic change. Gibson was looking very closely at the competition and attempted to mimic what they perceived the competition was doing right.
I am not certain who the designers were at that time, however it would appear the monkeys took over the shop for a few years, I offer these Bizzaro World creations as evidence.
Marauder. This guitar was intended to coincide and compliment the Gibson Grabber Bass guitar. The Marauder never really became well established on the market. The Gibson marauder was introduced in 1975 it was 12 3/4" wide, and had a les Paul shaped single cutaway, maple or mahogany body (some with alder bodies), a humbucking pick up in the neck position for rhythm and a single blade pickup in the bridge position at a slant for solo work.
A large pick guard which covers the entire upper body. The unbound neck was topped with a rosewood fingerboard , dot inlays and a triangular round-top spear-shaped headstock similar to the Gibson Flying Vee.
The guitar had a compliment of 2 knobs and a rotary tone selector switch which created an interesting tone frequencies from the 2 pickups.
In mid 1975 Gibson produced the Gibson S-1 guitar and released it for sale on the market the following year. The Gibson S-1 had very similar features like the marauder , its 12 3/4" wide with a Les Paul shaped body , bolt on neck , maple or rosewood fingerboard, dot inlay, pointed round headstock similar to a Flying Vee, stop tailpiece, tune o matic bridge, large pick guard ( pointed at the treble bout ) and 3 single coil pickups.
Gibson Grabber Bass, the G1, was introduced in late 1973. These Gibson bass guitars were built with a bolt on neck, 20 fret maple fingerboards, 1 movable pick up and a tune o matic bridge. The Grabber Bass featured a large body with a double-cut alder body, all topped with chrome hardware. Like the prior Norlin creations, this bass came with a Flying V style headstock. It was offered in various colors, however the most popular was a natural finish.
The Grabber Bass was a success. This was Gibson’s first bolt on neck bass. The movable pickup was an interesting feature that left many bass players intrigued as by manually moving the pickup towards the bridge or neck one could create a deeper thick sound or a very punchy sound.
Much of the Grabber’s popularity stemmed from their use by Gene Simmons of Kiss.
However the guitar came in various colors. The release of the Grabber G3 coincided with release of the Gibson Marauder.
The final evidence that Gibson Guitars lost their mind occurred in 1982 in the form of a guitar called the Gibson Corvus.
OK, Latin scholars, Corvus is the Latin word for:
a. A small car produced by Chevrolet that Ralph Nader was not fond of.
b. A tasty snack made of compressed corn.
c. A rather silly looking electric guitar.
If you answered D, you are correct. If you answered C and D, you get extra credit.
the old fashion can opener that had a curved blade that cut into a cans lid. Now envision this shape with 6 strings, pickups, a neck and tuners. This is exactly what the Gibson Corvus resembled.
Gibson decided it was a great idea to produce 3 versions of this silly instrument.
The guitar also sported a very unusual bridge design. They did not sell many of these.
Gibson also introduced the Gibson Corvus II guitar, the guitar was the same as the Corvus I but with 2 hum buckers and two volume controls, one was a master volume control.
Gibson Corvus III electric guitar was the same as the Corvus I, but with three single coil pickups, a five way switch, one master volume and one tone control.
The one cool thing about these Norlin guitars was the pickups. They were designed by Bill Lawrence.
the Futura. It was a Corvus II with a different name, but upscale. It had twin Gibson humbuckers with no covers and it was neck-through body construction.
Thankfully in the late 1980's the company was rescued by its present owners. Gibson Guitar is now a privately held corporation owned by chief executive officer Henry Juszkiewicz and president David H. Berryman. And once again Gibson has returned to it's roots and is making great instruments.